While Tanzanian Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa has refuted multiple media reports that President John Pombe Magufuli was incapacitated as a result of severe COVID-19 and that he is dead, saying that the President is progressing on well, a fresh twist to the tale has emerged after a former intelligence officer has “confirmed” his death.
In a series of Tweets, Tanzanian ex-spy and political analyst Evarist Chahali has shared via his verified Twitter account about the death of Magufuli, the whereabouts of his “body” and, possibly, why the Tanzanian Government has refused to break the sad news.
In a brief and precise message via his Twitter handle on Friday, less than thirty minutes to midnight, Chahali announced that John Magufuli passed away at 5.30pm (EAT) at Mzena Hospital in Dar es Salaam.
According to Chahali, President Magufuli’s physicians have decided to put his body on a life support again. This is technically to prevent Vice President Samiah Suluh Hassah from making the death announcement and initiating a smooth power transfer.
While Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa has been leading in providing updates about the health of President Magufuli, many believe Samia’s silence confirms that that she has been kept in the cold, maybe, until the time the government deems fit for breaking the sad news.
From Chahali’s argument, PM Majaliwa’s update since the “death” of President Magufuli has been choreographed to hoodwink the public on the plans underway. He narrates there is an extremely powerful small group of individuals hailing from Magufuli’s home area called “Lake Zoners” who are plotting a coup to install their preferred candidate.
While Tanzanian Constitution grants D.P Samia automatic powers of assuming the presidency, the “Lake Zoners”, according to Chahali, are planning to take over power and make Venance Salvatory Mabeyo,Tanzanian chief of defense forces, the president.
Ex-spy Evarist believes the ball is now in Samia’s court to fulfill her constitutional mandate as the Vice President of Tanzania. He has advised her to come out swiftly and abort the plans of the “Lake Zoners” by making public the death of President Magufuli so as to initiate a smooth transfer of power.
The 61-year-old President’s last public appearance was on February 27 during an official function at the statechouse in Dar es Salaam, the country’s business capital.
His government has been reluctant on monitoring the state of COVID-19 in the neighboring East African countries.
While East African countries like Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda have been imposing stiff measures to curb the spread of the virus, including banning social gatherings, nationwide testing, lockdown, curfew, vaccination among others, life has just been normal in Tanzania.
In early June, President Magufuli declared the country free from coronavirus, thanks to prayers by citizens.
“I want to thank Tanzanians of all faiths. We have been praying and fasting for God to save us from the pandemic that has afflicted our country and the world. But God has answered us,” said the President in a packed church service in Dodoma.
Evarist Chahali is an author, blogger and former Tanzanian intelligence officer based in Scotland.